Girls 6th, boys 12th at prestigious MWC

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Varsity: Hartnett leads girls to sixth, boys 12th

Freshman Kylie Hartnett confidently sprinted to the front of the pack at the start of the windy and cool Mountain West Classic in Missoula on Saturday, and finished eighth to pace the Helena High girls to a sixth-place finish.

Hartnett finished in a personal best 18 minutes, 54 seconds — 20 seconds faster than her previous record. Senior Katelyn McKay placed 39th in 20:10, freshman Kyle Wetzel was 53rd in 20:21 and freshman Rylie Schoenfeld finished 60th in 20:27 to buoy Hartnett’s effort. The Bengals fifth scoring runner was senior Paige Aasved in 175th with a time of 22:06. Helena’s sixth and seventh runners were freshman Breanna Brewer (22:07) in 179th and sophomore Maddy Murgel (23:02) in 237th.

Billings Senior’s Tiahna Vladic — the 2017 AA state champion — continued her dominant season with the individual victory in 17:48, 28 seconds ahead of Hellgate’s Ember Stratton.

The young Bengal girls finished with 328 points, while Hellgate (50 points) edged defending AA state champ Bozeman (54) for the title, and Billings Senior (108) and Post Falls (291) — 10th in Idaho’s state 5A championships a year ago with the majority of that team back — were third and fourth, respectively.

The girls varsity field featured 384 runners and 52 teams with the requisite five runners required to register a team score. Another 19 teams featured at least one runner.

On the boys side, junior Jonah Fisher paced Helena to 12th place — sixth among Montana schools — with a time of 16:50 in 31st pace individually. Meanwhile, Flathead senior Ben Perrin dominated over the final half mile to pull away for a win in 15:38 — 9 seconds ahead of Will Smith, who placed sixth in last year’s Washington 4A championships for Spokane’s Lewis and Clark.

Senior Zane Roush continued his strong season for Helena in 47th with a time of 17:03, while junior Clayton Ryerson (17:17) placed 71st, sophomore Trystan Brewer (17:37) finished 106th and junior Sam Sullivan (17:57) was 147th. Helena’s sixth man, junior Nick Pida was 151st in 17:59, and senior Eric Carlson finished 299th in 19:14.

Roush and Fisher were among 48 athletes who averaged a pace of 5:30 per mile or faster.

The Bengals posted 402 points in 12th. Washington’s state champion and runner-up from a year ago dominated the team competition as Lewis and Clark (85) — ranked among the top teams in the country — defended its title and Spokane’s Central Valley (112) claimed second.

Reigning AA state champion Bozeman — placed third with 127 points to pace the Montana schools, while six of the top eight teams hailed from the fiercely competitive Greater Spokane (WA) League.

The boys field featured  whopping 446 athletes, resulting in a lot of jostling throughout the race and runners jockeyed for position. Sixty-two teams featured the requisite five athletes required to register a score, and another 12 teams featured at least one runner.

Junior Varsity: Girls third, boys


Senior Jasmine Wilkerson placed fifth in the girls junior varsity race in 20:49, while freshman Carly Ryan (22:32, 35th place,  junior Alyssa Plant (22:37, 38th), freshman Naomi Sweeney (22:44, 42nd) and freshman Grace Oelkers (22:46, 44th) all joined her in the top 50 to guide the Bengals to a third place finish.

Freshman Hannah Romney (23:05, 55th) and senior Payton Aasved (23:13, 63rd), meanwhile, weren’t too far behind as Helena sixth and seventh runners across the finish line. While only seven runners figure in the team scoring, Helena featured another 17 runners in the junior varsity field.

Perennial powers Hellgate and Bozeman finished first and second in the team race, with the Knights taking the top four places and scoring 18 points against Bozeman’s 43. Helena finished with 128 and Spokane’s Central Valley was fourth with 138. Those four schools accounted for 160 of the 531 athletes who toed the starting line.

Thirty-five schools fielded scoring teams, while another 30 featured at least one runner.

On the boys side, Helena finished 17th among 49 scoring teams and an additional 22 with at least one runner in the race, which featured 716 student-athletes from three states.

Sophomore Ethan Nelson paced the Bengals in 105th place with a time of 19:24, while juniors Boyd Stutz (19:43) and Roy Rindal (19:44) were about 20 seconds back in 151st and 155th.

Sophomore Dallin Christensen (19:50) and junior Grayson Bonilla (19:51) were Helena’s final scoring runners in 175th and 177th, and sophomores Ian Lovshin (19:58, 190th) and Westin LaPierre (19:58, 191) joined them under 20 minutes.

Freshman Evan Stefaniak enjoyed the biggest improvement among the entire boys team Saturday, running a personal record of 20:47.

For complete junior varsity results, click the results link at the top of this page.


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